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1985 Dodge Ramcharger Royal SE, 318 SB
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone,

Before I start I should point out that this is my first restore project and I'm learning on the fly through a mix of YouTube, this forum, and Reddit. I managed to find an 85 RC with a 318 in relatively great condition a few months back. I dig the thing, it's a tank. Due to a fuel delivery issue, I first tackled some work on the top end of the motor, but it's also been plaguing me with ignition issues since I got it. I've been reading on these forums for a while now, but decided to start posting to take advantage of the wisdom and experience yall have.

So, got a couple questions to start. Have a new, fully charged battery. Drove the RC around town this past Saturday, ran great. Sunday, no start. Doesn't crank, click, anything. I even took the battery off and put it on a charger, then tried to start it again, with the same result. The motor will not start from a jump, either.

Here's a list of what I have replaced so far, with no luck: starter, alternator, ballast resistor, ignition coil, spark plugs, wires. It's been timed by a professional mechanic because the PO must have removed the harmonic balancer at some point and then put it back on 90 degrees off. My next steps are to replace the battery cables and the ignition switch at the base of the steering column (tilt wheel).

I'm attaching a few pics, and I know it's not a ton to go off, but if anyone has any suggestions of things to try / things I may have done wrong, I'd be grateful.

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you're on the right track with the ignition swithc in the column. Still need a multimeter to test circuits though.
I noticed the bare positive cable end in your pics so it could be just cheap bolt on battery terminals that corrode so easily and cause problems like this.

details about the fuel issues and ignition issues would help. (what was happening)
 

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I've been having a no crank issue lately on mine. I wiggled the wires on the ballast and it has been firing just fine the last few days. Mine looks fairly new as well.
 

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How can you put a harmonic balancer on 90 degrees off?

A faulty or unhooked neutral safety switch will cause a no crank situation.

Bucky
 

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1985 Dodge Ramcharger Royal SE, 318 SB
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replies.

Jerseybud - the fuel issue ended up being pretty simple actually. Crappy 2 barrel stock carb was clogged somewhere and I wanted to replace it anyway so i dropped in a new Edelbrock intake with a beefier 2 barrel Holley. As for the ignition issues, I've been scratching my head since I bought it just because the problems seemed to be really intermittent. Would start one day then not start the next day. I have been meaning to grab a multimeter to test the circuits; the engine is in great shape compression wise (128 to 135 psi range), but the wiring is a bit of a mess. Lot of things unplugged and wires leading to nowhere.

712 - I'm honestly not sure, but I didn't stick around to ask questions haha. Had been trying to time the thing for a week so I was real frustrated with it. And I actually did check the neutral switch yesterday. It's hooked up all right but I suppose there's always the possibility that it's shot. If the ignition switch doesn't do the trick I will look into that more.
 

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you need to put the brakes on and slow the frigg down [ also STOP throwing money at it that don't fix shit ]

now starter , power the LARGE brown wire on the starter relay and tell me what happens

WHOOH that small GREEN wire is the Neutral safety switch wire , without that it'll never turn over

 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Sorry for the delay dodgeboys. Yeah, it's definitely easy to get up in the trap of just wanting to replace everything I see, but without any real results. Thanks for your reply, so I took a look at the wires you mentioned. The green wire does not appear to be plugged in anywhere; I attached a pic. the bare plug on the starter relay has a G next to it (assuming ground, could be off base of course?). It appears one end of the green wire will snap onto it, but the other end of the green wire is just stuck onto a crimp connector. No idea. What would be the proper routing for this wire as far as where it should be plugged in on both ends? Sorry, again, a beginner haha.
 

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I think the other end of that green wire is down on the transmission at the NSS. If so, when the shifter is in Park or Neutral that wire will provide ground for the terminal on the bottom of the starter relay, allowing it to crank.

Bucky
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
That sounds right, and I know that my NSS is plugged in at the trans. Tomorrow I'll try and trace the wiring frm the NSS back to the engine compartment; just seems weird that that green wire is capped off near the starter relay. Will update tomorrow.
 

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I would do as Dodgeboys suggested, plug the green wire into that bare spade on the starter relay & see if it cranks. I believe the terminal on the starter relay MUST be grounded before it sends the signal to the starter to crank. This is set up to disable the starter from engaging while the vehicle is in gear.

Bucky
 

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Bucky is correct , that terminal on the starter relay needs to be grounded [ see diagrams ]



 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Great. Thanks guys, I'll mess with those things today. I confirmed last night that the battery has 12.7 volts so I know that's not the problem, seems for sure like it's somewhere with the starter relay / NSS so I'll update with how it goes.
 

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The wire that's unplugged is the issue, had it shake loose on more than one over the years, my current truck is a manual transmission so it's just grounded to the inner fender now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I understand as far as plugging in the green wire onto the bare spade on the relay, but if you refer to my earlier pic, there's another end of the green wire coming out of the harness that dead-ends into like a crimp connector thing. Should that end of the green wire also be plugged into something? Is that what is supposed to lead down to the trans / NSS?
 

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It should be in the harness running down to the NSS, give me a moment and I'll look at my truck as it's a '85 as well and was a automatic originally.
 

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On mine it's in the harness, the open end is for the ground wire used on a manual transmission and to bypass the neutral safety switch.

Most likely either your nss is bad or the connection is loose or the shift linkage is out of adjustment.
 

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yup it's suppose to go straight to the NSS

 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
One more tidbit of info. Been testing things with the multimeter before I get into the NSS and the ignition coil return a Ohm reading of 1.0, but the starter will not even give a reading at all. Is that cause for concern? Thx all.
 

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for 1 you don't test a coil with an Ohm meter , you can but l,ve seen coils test good and still not work , to test a coil you do a "scratch" test [ see diagram ]

also to test a starter you put power to it [ jumper cables or hook the battery up ]

 
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